“And if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can always eat whatever is put on your plate; if you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill; if you can find contentment just where you are, you are probably a dog” (author unknown).
In each of our lives, we take turns with all kinds of human experience: ecstasy, fatigue, joy, anger, grief, etc. All of these experiences make life fully rich. Without one of these experiences, we are half alive. This is fortunate and unfortunate. It is unpleasant to suffer. And yet, when we meet our own suffering and view the cycle of human experience (our own and other’s) like this, we realize we are not alone and can support each other with great compassion and kindness. This reaction is easier said than done. When I was a child, my mom used to tell me she wished she had a magic wand to take my suffering away. Sometimes, I wish she did too. Right now, I am in a place of experiencing some great loss: my grandmother is very ill and does not have much longer to live and I lost one of my best friends within the last two weeks (not to death but to irreconcilable differences). As I write this, tears are filling up my eyes. Right now, I am in a period of grief. Tomorrow may be different experience. And some time, you will be experiencing this too. We take turns. There are moments in life when we do not have any control and recognize how precious and fragile time and life really are. We learn about our and others limitations. We learn to stay centered in the midst of chaos. With meditation (to build mindfulness and compassion with what is), yoga (to feel the truth of our stories and getting to the cellular level, deeper than the mind), and therapy (to receive feedback that we trust), we learn to heal the parts of ourselves that are suffering and need healing. We learn to navigate the different waves that come our way.
What happens when we do not practice and question? It becomes hard to navigate the waves of our experience. Our reality may be incongruent with what is really happening in the moment. We may get reactive to someone and project unresolved issues from the past on another. And we may seriously grasp onto our experience. I just went through this with my friend. He did not engage the problems with me directly and tried to work them out on his own. By the time, the problems had genuinely reached me, the build up was grand. Of course, I made/make mistakes; we all do. Unfortunately, at that point, there was and is nothing I could say to help adjust the situation. His mind was made up. Relationships are a collaboration. When I keep my reality to myself and don’t question, my mind is going to create a lot of stories. Most of which are not true, which is not healthy for me or any of my relationships. It is important to check out what we think, hear, see, and feel in order to stay an active participant in the world outside of ourselves. Sometimes, our lenses need cleaning so we can see the whole picture of our experience, which is why we meditate, practice yoga, and engage in psychotherapy. When someone is talking to you from a place of presence and compassion, they will not be numb and disconnected. They will be open hearted and be able to empathize with you; they will acknowledge you and your feelings. Do you do this for people? Do you meet them with an awakened presence and deep compassion? Are you questioning your own reality? When we do not question, we can cause harm from our unconscious. When we do not question, and learn to navigate the waves of our experience, we will not be able to handle the deep suffering or joyful experiences that life brings. We will be half alive. Be gentle with yourself. This work is a process, not an event.
Tip Today: Let yourself be exactly as you are. Notice what you do to distract yourself from an uncomfortable feeling. This practice is mindfulness meditation: sitting with the unpleasant. What do you do to distract yourself from unpleasant feelings? Do you put on music, check email, call a friend, eat? I tend to do all of these when I am avoiding my grief. When I notice, I meet my experience as much as I can with an open heart. Ah! Here’s another wave of tears…there there…there there…I meet myself as a compassionate parent would meet a vulnerable child; I breathe into it and let it be as much as possible. With whatever is happening for you, I am holding your hand. You are not alone. We are all in this together. Feel it as a wave of energy that comes and goes. Another piece of emotion that will help you be more fully who you are and who you want to be.
Book and Music recommendations that will change your life: Book: How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo; Music: Maya Fiennes Kundalini Mantras.
“Overcome any bitterness that may have come because you were not up to the magnitude of the pain entrusted to you. Like the mother of the world who carries the pain of the world in her heart, you are sharing a certain measure of that cosmic pain, and are called upon to meet it in joy instead of self pity” ~Sufi Master Pir Vilayat Khan.
Thank you for receiving and doing your work.
In Love, Light, and Shadow,